A victim of an alleged international crypto scam says she fears for her life and is constantly looking over her shoulder after receiving death threats for speaking out.
Jen McAdam – one of tens of thousands of investors in OneCoin – is spearheading a group of victims who have lost huge sums after ploughing cash into what was sold to them as “the next Bitcoin”.
After raising an estimated $5bn throughout the world, US prosecutors are investigating OneCoin which they suspect is nothing more than an elaborate pyramid scheme.
The investigation was recently taken up a level when the founder of the “Ponzi” – Dr Ruja Ignatova disappeared before being charged with money laundering.
Oxford-educated Ignatova – self-proclaimed ‘Cryptoqueen’ – fled in 2017 before being slapped with the charges in her absence by the US Department of Justice.
Curiously, Bulgaria-based OneCoin continues to trade, and has vehemently denied it is a scam while rebuffing criticism it is a pyramid scheme disguised as a cryptocurrency.
Ms McAdam, however, would argue otherwise.
The 49-year-old ploughed £8,000 of her savings into OneCoin before persuading friends and family to invest quarter of a million pounds. By the time she realised there would be no return on her investment, it was too late.
And she’s not alone. It is believed some 70,000 people in the UK signed up to OneCoin packages and have been left out-of-pocket.
Since going public in her fight against OneCoin she says she has received vile threats of sexual violence as well threats upon her life.
Speaking on the ‘Cryptoqueen’ BBC Sounds podcast which is looking into the mysterious disappearance of Ruja Ignatova, the Glasgow-based campaigner has received an avalanche of abuse, largely through Facebook – something she describes as an organised attack by OneCoin factions.
“It is horrible, the abuse is vile and the threats feel very real to me, I’m always looking over my shoulder now,” she revealed.
“It is taking its toll on my health but I will not give up until me and the thousands of other OneCoin victims like me see some form of justice.”
The online threats have been reported to Police Scotland, and Ms McAdam is currently urging the UK authorities and financial bodies to take the claims of thousands of people like her more seriously.
“I know through the different victims’ groups around the world that it is people just like me who are affected,” she added.
“They invested their life savings, they re-mortgaged homes and they convinced their friends and family to get involved – and they feel as awful as I do about it all because we were all duped.
“We think there’s around 70,000 victims in the UK but it feels as if they are being left behind, nobody here seems interested in this.”
According to the Cryptoqueen podcast, it is estimated OneCoin has raised $5bn across an astonishing 175 countries. The UK alone accounts for some $122m (£96m).
Despite Cyrus Vance – New York County District Attorney – labelling OneCoin as “an old-school pyramid scheme on a new-school platform”, the company insists it is operating within the law.
It has even attacked the BBC’s Cryptoqueen podcast as not presenting “any truthful information and cannot be considered objective, nor unbiased” as well as suggesting legal action could be taken against many allegations of foul play.
OneCoin stated: “Our partners, our customers and our lawyers are fighting successfully against this action around the globe and we are sure that the vision of a new system on the basis of a ‘financial revolution’ will be established”.